Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Good Stuff

An interesting wine and an equally interesting recipe met up together on Sunday, and was finished this evening.

The wine is a blend of 80% nebbiolo, 10% Barbera, and 10% cabernet franc from a producer in the Barbaresco area of the Piedmonte. Initially all I could taste was the Barbera and its sharp acidity, but as the wine breathed the silkiness of the Nebbiolo came through. There was just a bit of a darker cherry fruit that had to have been the Cabernet Franc. The Nebbiolo tannin was there at first, but settled down after some breathing.

One cup used for cooking, a small glass tasted immediately and then two glasses consumed six hours later. The bottle was vacuum closed after the initial opening, then decanted about an hour before dinner. It was a much different wine with the meal than it was earlier, and a much better wine. At $15 it was money well spent.

The recipe was braised short ribs from an article (and video) by Mark Bittman in the New York Times. The short ribs were browned thoroughly and then braised in a cup of red wine and a cup of black coffee, with one chipotle pepper and one dried ancho pepper thrown in with some onions and garlic. It's not a combination I had ever seen before and since all the ingredients were on hand and the weather was cold it made for a great Sunday experiment.

With some buttered tagliatelle it also made for a great Sunday evening meal. It's a recipe worth keeping. I put some of the pepper seeds in with the braising liquid so there was just a small amount of "kick" in the finishing taste of the ribs. It wasn't enough spice to make the mouth burn, but it was enough for a warm finish. The remainder was finished this evening and like most braises, it was equally as good two later, if not even better.

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